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The Greenhouse Effect, the Earth's Atmosphere and Humans

The following Earth Science discussion questions will be addressed:

1). Explain the natural greenhouse effect in the Earth's atmosphere and how humans might be contributing to its effect.

2). What benefits to human life are provided by Earth's atmosphere? Explain your answer.

3). In a changing global climate, how do you think jet streams would change and what effects might that have on society?

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Solution Preview

First, some reference websites will be provided followed by some guidance on these questions.


- "Greenhouse Effect Q&A" About.com, accessed October, 2011:

- "Windows to the Universe" accessed October, 2011:

- "Jet Stream, University of Illinois" accessed October, 2011:


1. FIRST PART "Explain the natural greenhouse effect in the Earth's atmosphere..."

--> Think of a greenhouse. Why do greenhouses stay hot, even if it is cold outside?

--> If you are in a room with lots of windows and it is a sunny day, what happens? The sunlight comes in and warms the air in the room. The warmth is trapped there, though, because the warm air can't pass through a closed window. So it just gets warmer and warmer etc.

--> Our atmosphere does a similar thing. When the sunlight enters the earth's atmosphere, the gasses in the air absorb the warmth of the sunlight. Depending on the types of gasses present in the atmosphere the warmth might be reflected back out into space or it could be trapped on ...

Solution Summary

Some external references will be provided as well as an overview of the greenhouse effect, human contributions to it. There will also be some discussion of how the earth's atmosphere benefits human life and if the atmosphere changes significantly, what the consequences would be to society and jet streams.